Why do I get sick whenever I start an exercise regimen?
Asked by on Oct 22, 2008
Last week, I started walking 20 minutes a day before work and now, on the 10th day, I am sick with a bad head cold. This happens every time I start to exercise. I either get a cold or the flu or something that makes me not feel like getting out of bed, much less exercising. I live in Florida and so the weather isn't the culprit. Am I crazy?
A new exercise program taxes the immune system, especially if you are losing weight, which weakens immunity as well. Our immune systems are under constant attack by viruses, bacteria, fungi, pollutants, and other invaders, and the germs get the advantage whenever the system is weakened. Immunity is strengthened by good nutrition, sleep, and relief from stress, and so you need more of those to keep the system in balance whenever exercise is intensified. (Note that the Mediterranean Diet is said to boost immunity.) But after the initial hurdle, regular exercise can boost the immune system. Read about exercise and the immunity from the Guide to Sports Medicine at About.com.